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Anurag Basu says he can’t write a script without music: ‘It seeps into my movies’ 

Anurag Basu revealed that as music is present in every aspect of his life, it finds a way into his films as well.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
August 18, 2021 6:21:56 pm
anurag basuAnurag Basu says music is intrinsic to his script-writing. (Photo: Varinder Chawla)

Music is an inseparable part of Anurag Basu’s life and cinema and the director says his day starts and ends with listening to his favourite songs.

In an era when song sequences in Hindi movies have suffered, Basu is one of those rare filmmakers to cleverly use music to further the story of his films. That’s why Basu’s films (Murder, Gangster, Life in a… Metro, Barfi and Jagga Jasoos et al) are such a hit with music lovers.

“Music is an integral part of my movies and my life. From morning till evening, I’m always listening to music… all kinds of music. Since it is there in my life, it naturally seeps into my movies as well,” Basu told PTI in an interview.

He added, “I cannot write a single line of a script if I’m not listening to music. So, it is very organic that music becomes important for storytelling in my movies.”

Anurag Basu was keen to make a biopic on Kishore Kumar for the longest time. Though the project could not take off, Basu said it is his personal wish that the singer’s story is told on the big screen. “Last I heard that filmmaker Amit Kumar (the singer’s son) wanted to make the movie on Kishore Kumar. “But whoever it is, I want this film to be made immediately. I have always loved Kishore Kumar and want his story to be told on the screen,” he said.

As a director of nine movies so far, Basu said he is now aware of his biggest weakness and he is constantly trying to overcome it.

“There has never been any self-criticism but I often doubt myself. Whenever I complete a script, I start doubting myself. I believe that this is my biggest drawback. When you write something good, then one shouldn’t question it again and again as it can ruin your hard work. But I’m trying to overcome this,” he said.

The filmmaker is currently revelling in the success of his last movie, Ludo, which has been nominated for four awards at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) Awards 2021.

Basu said, “I feel really great as in the last year, there have been no award functions. There were only virtual events that took place. So, I have been missing all of this. All the films that I have loved this year have been nominated this year along with us.” Basu, who has received a nod for best director, said. Ludo is also nominated for the best film besides the double nod in the best actor category for Pankaj Tripathi and Rajkummar Rao.

The anthology film, which was released on streamer Netflix in November 2020, features an ensemble cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Rajkummar Rao, Sanya Malhotra, Pearle Maaney, Pankaj Tripathi, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Rohit Suresh Saraf.

With Ludo, the filmmaker revealed that he was initially confused about whether he should release the movie on an OTT platform or not.

“It is overwhelming actually as I never expected this. Initially, we were struggling to make the decision about whether we should release it on OTT or not. But we made the right decision. I think the film has reached a larger audience due to the OTT platform and there are people who are still watching it and loving it. Besides, Ludo has also been dubbed in other languages. So it has all turned out well,” Basu said.

Post his successful outing with Ludo, the filmmaker is more open to working with streaming services. Basu said OTT platforms have given more power to storytellers. “I’m more open now and very keen to work with streamers directly. They have sort of given back the power to us to tell any kind of story that we want.

“It is also because audiences have become open to different kinds of stories. So, I’m more ready now. I think you will find me more on streaming platforms from now on,” he added.

Another benefit of streaming services is that they allow audiences to discover a filmmaker’s past work which might not have done well at the time of its release in theatres. Basu said his 2017 film Jagga Jasoos, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, is a perfect example of this.

“‘Jagga Jasoos’ did not do well in theatres. However, after it was available on streaming, the response to the movie was very good. There are people who are discovering it now. So, OTT has all kinds of audiences. ‘Jagga Jasoos’ has reached these audiences because I think it was made for the OTT,” Basu said. As for his future endeavours, the director is working on three scripts.

He added, “Post ‘Ludo’, I have been holidaying and writing. I have three very good and very different scripts. Out of these three, I’m very fond of two and they have been finished. The last one is half done but I will finish it soon. So, I’m really looking forward to going on floors soon.”

The annual awards ceremony of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2021 will be held virtually on August 20.

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